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1. Oysters from Bowens Island
I am a strong believer in the aphrodisiac quality of oysters, and I have yet to top the sensual experience produced at Bowens Island. This place serves the freshest genital-esque morsels to ever go down your throat (that are not actually human genitalia). If you’re not Kosher and love seafood, you will miss this no-nonsense establishment located en route to Folly Beach.
Bowens Island serves these love-globs right off the dock. The restaurant doesn’t waste time with fancy plating; eat from a paper plate or directly off the wooden table. You will definitely miss that primal human satisfaction of shucking meat from a shell and slurping down the gooey goodness.
2. Horse cops busting house parties
I miss the initial confusion of witnessing a horse nose on my porch. I also miss drunkenly petting said horse nose, then petting the cop, then trying to get the cop to come inside and failing miserably…then having to tell my DJ friend to turn down the Major Lazer jams as I sip the last disgusting drops of the Four Loko I purchased at the T & L grocery.
3. Jasmine-scent-drenched-sidewalks in the spring
The scent is so alluring it will make you want to caress and kiss things.
4. Upper King Street bars
Sure, I could bourgeois-it-up Southern Belle-style near The Battery or Market Street area, but my fondest nights were spent at the grittier watering holes north of Calhoun Street. I downed White Gummy Bear shots at A.C.’s Bar and Grill (which serves the best chicken and waffles hangover brunch), sipped beers at Closed For Business, stumbled into Dellz Deli for a midnight sandwich, and tongued my ex on the way to Recovery Room, where I delighted in the PBR-soaked, dirty hipster love under the Crosstown overpass.
5. Running into Bill Murray
Yes. Bill Fucking Murray lives there. I miss spotting him at Kudu Coffee, or at Charleston Riverdogs games. He’s known for making appearances at super weird places and times, especially near the College of Charleston campus. Apparently he recently crashed a bro’s bachelor party. I’ve never wanted to be a soon-to-be-married bro more.
6. Blue Bicycle Books
As someone who discovered her love for modern and contemporary poetry while in Charleston, I will say this is THE best used bookshop around town (and probably in the world). It’s the only independent bookstore on the peninsula, and the owners are helpful and welcoming. The sleepy cat that lives in the store could turn any feline-hater around.
7. Sippin’ sweet tea vodka on the “veranda”
Yeah, they call porches “verandas” down there. The verandas slope downward because of hurricanes, and many were erected by ship-builders in the 1800s. I know this because pretty much any apartment available for rent is a historic Charleston single house. Doesn’t matter if the banister is full of splinters, or the floorboards creak loud as hell during a public sex act — it’s still a veranda, and nothing less.
And when in Charleston, you must have an experience “sippin’ sweet tea on the veranda.” Sweet tea alone is too saccharine for my Northern palate, but Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka? No mixers needed.
8. Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island
Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island from 1827-1828, and this is where he set his 1843 short story “The Gold Bug.” The relatively quiet beach community pays homage to “The Raven” writer with a place to get awesome burgers, aptly titled Poe’s Tavern.
With Poe quotes scrawled across the floor and walls, a fish taco menu, and a laid-back vibe, it doesn’t really make much sense. But, it’s fucking lovable. Anything that strives to keep literary greats alive in this day and age gets a thumbs-up from this gal.
9. The Unitarian Church Cemetery
Located on Archdale Street, the Unitarian Church Cemetery might be the place I miss the most in Charleston. It makes me a bit morbid, but if ever there was a place for the dead that teemed with life and lots of greenery, it’s this graveyard. I spent countless hours writing here. Live oaks grow into headstones. Spanish moss sways amongst the grave plots of families dating back to the Revolutionary War. Palmetto branches shade you, and wild flowers grow everywhere. Basically, the dead people give you high-fives.
When you die, you will luck out if you somehow score a plot here.